A Travellerspoint blog

El Camino de Santiago: Epilogue


View World Tour 2022 on Glichez's travel map.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

This morning... was a rough wake up after the late night drinking last night. I had a great time hanging out with everyone and I regretted nothing, but it was difficult waking up at 08:45 today. Lotta had already left to get coffee this morning, while Marnie and Katja had left moments before I got up to meet her for breakfast. I quickly got ready so I could head out to join them. As I was walking up the street, I could see Marnie and Katja ahead of me, and there was Lotta on a balcony waving to them (she didn't see me though).

IMG-20220918-WA0003.jpg

We all met up at our favorite cafe from yesterday, Meraki, located right next to the pilgrim's office. The waiter remembered us and we arrived just as they were opening. I was feeling quite hungover today and I didn't want to have anything big to eat for breakfast, so I settled for a coffee and a slice of Santiago cake. Over breakfast, I told everyone about the insanity from last night.

large_IMG-20220918-WA0017.jpg

Marnie had the brilliant idea of booking us on a free walking tour of the city today which began at 10:00 in the cathedral square. We met up with the tour leader, but when he began the tour, none of us could understand him. He spoke very quickly and with a very thick accent. We all agreed to just skip the tour and do some exploring on our own. I was disappointed that we couldn't take the tour as it would have been nice to learn more about Santiago, but it would have been pointless; I could only pick a few words that the guide was saying.

The four of us (Lotta, Katja, Marnie, and me) walked over to one of the entrances to the cathedral and went inside so we could properly look around. We had only done the mass yesterday, without spending any time getting to admire the building. The first thing we went to see was the shrine to St James, which was located beneath the main altar. His supposed remains were kept in a large silver, ornate box that was kept behind a gate. It was pretty to see, but the shrine itself was somewhat underwhelming.

large_20220918_102312.jpglarge_20220918_102325.jpglarge_20220918_102354.jpglarge_20220918_102539.jpglarge_20220918_102544.jpg

We then walked through the rest of the cathedral. The main altar was impressive: statues everywhere, including many of St James, and everything was covered with gold. Hanging just before the altar was the massive incense holder, which is swung on special occasions. Next to the altar was another ornate chapel, with shells and Templar crosses adorning the walls. The rest of the cathedral was rather bland: most of the walls were bare, with only simple carvings at random places. It was surprising given the decorative nature of the exterior.

large_20220918_102700.jpglarge_20220918_102708.jpglarge_20220918_102732.jpg

Finishing at the cathedral, we went to do some more shopping. Lotta wanted to find her pendant for her necklace; she had found one she liked yesterday, but had refrained from buying it then just in case she found something she liked better. We walked through several of the stores from yesterday, but unfortunately we couldn't find the pendant that she liked.

I was feeling utterly exhausted as we walked and felt my energy quickly fading away. We stopped in at a tiny cafe for some coffee and I just had a Coke so I could get some sugar. When we finished at the cafe, everyone split up: Lotta wanted to do more shopping; Marnie and Katja went to have lunch; I went to head over to Burger King to get some food. A greasy burger sounded perfect for while I was hungover, but, when I arrived there at 13:00, the Burger King was closed! I gave up on finding food and just went back to the apartment.

I stretched out on the couch upstairs and relaxed, eventually dozing off to get some rest. I awoke when Lotta returned from shopping and she had found a better necklace, along with a t-shirt! She went into the bedroom to have a rest as well, while I drifted back to sleep. I woke up again when Katja and Marnie returned, and Katja kindly told me to go back to sleep – they were going to nap as well. I was surprised by how tired I was, but the nap was exactly what I needed.

IMG-20220918-WA0024.jpg

I finally got up at 15:30 and messaged Lotta to see if she was still keen to get our tattoos at 16:30 as planned. She was out having coffee and said she still wanted to do it! I was excited to be getting tattoos together with her. I quickly got ready and was already feeling much better after the nap. I sent Katja the location of the tattoo parlor and left to meet Lotta at the cafe next to the cathedral.

We arrived at the tattoo parlor just before 16:30 and waited several minutes for them to open after their siesta. Once inside, we told the artist exactly what tattoos we wanted: Lotta was getting a shell symbol on her leg, while I was getting a yellow Camino arrow on my right ankle. Katja and Marnie arrived as everything was being setup in the next room. Marnie was still debating whether to get a tattoo or not.

Lotta was up first with her shell tattoo. I helped guide her through what to do and the artist was so patient and helpful. Once the design was in the place Lotta wanted, it was time to start tattooing! Lotta lay down on the table and handled it very well. Her face showed some pain during the first few seconds, but she was soon fine. The entire tattoo took around ten minutes to complete. Lotta had her fist tattoo!

large_20220918_170339.jpglarge_20220918_170406.jpglarge_20220918_170530.jpglarge_20220918_170814.jpglarge_20220918_171006.jpg

I was next with my yellow Camino arrow, which I was getting done just below the large villains tattoo on my right leg. It was placed very close to my ankle and I knew that it would hurt. I had been fine with my arm and chest tattoos, but my legs had always been extremely painful. As expected, the tattoo was painful, but not unbearably so; Katja took some great photos of me during the tattoo. Mine was equally as quick and before I knew it, the tattoo was done!

large_20220918_173919.jpg

While the artists was getting everything cleaned up, Marnie continued debating about getting one herself. She finally resolved to get one and picked out a shell design as well. Luckily, the artist was able to squeeze in Marnie's tattoo before her next appointments. Marnie wanted it to be small and on her ankle as well, but closer to the bottom of the foot than my arrow. It was another quick tattoo and Marnie handled it like a pro. She soon had her first tattoo as well!

large_IMG-20220918-WA0006.jpglarge_IMG-20220918-WA0007.jpglarge_IMG-20220918-WA0012.jpg

We were able to get some Saniderm bandages for the tattoos from the artist, which is part of the main reason I picked this place to get them done. I've used Saniderm with all of the tattoos I had done in Hanoi; I'll never get a tattoo without it again.

We walked over to a nearby bar to have a round of celebratory drinks. Getting tattoos together was a perfect way to bring our Camino to a close. I was glad that both Lotta and Marnie had taken the plunge to get their first tattoos; these will be a permanent remind of our time together. Katja was planning to walk to the coast with her husband, so having a fresh tattoo would not have been a good idea.

large_IMG-20220918-WA0013.jpg

It was nearing 19:00 by this time and I was getting very hungry – and I still wanted to get a burger from Burger King! Lotta and Marnie left together to get some dinner, while Katja walked with me towards the BK. Her husband, Marius, was due to arrive very soon at the bus station, which was in the general direction I was walking. We split up and planned to meet back at the apartment. I was delighted to find the BK open and ordered myself a double Whopper burger. It was exactly what I needed today and I felt so much better after eating. I'm unapologetic about my meal choice today.

large_20220918_203817.jpg

I went back to the apartment and relaxed for a bit, until Katja returned with Marius. It was great to finally meet him after hearing the wonderful things that Katja had said about him. He is a very friendly and funny man, and I could see how happy Katja was to see him again. The three of us had some tea and Santiago cake while we chatted. When I opened the cake, someone had mysteriously cut into it already... Lotta!

large_20220918_194617.jpglarge_20220918_215030.jpg

Marius had not eaten a proper meal today, so they soon left to head out for dinner. Marnie and Lotta got back shortly after Katja and Marius left. We spent the evening listening to ABBA music, drinking beers, and chatting away. It was delightfully relaxing. When Katja and Marius returned from their dinner, we all spent some time hanging out. This was our final night together as a Camino Family, and we were feeling all the feelings. We all spent some time getting our things together for departure in the morning, but the focus for tonight was on spending time together. It was such a wonderful way to begin bidding farewell to everyone.

Monday, September 19, 2022

This morning was going to be a sad one as both Lotta and Katja were departing. I woke up at 07:30 in order to spend the morning with Lotta. She was already up and packing her bags, so we spent the time chatting a bit while she got ready. Marnie, Katja and Marius were soon awake as well, and we all chatting for a little bit. Lotta had to leave shortly around 08:30 in order to walk to the bus station, where the very cheap bus to the airport departs. I was very sad to have to say goodbye to her because she had been such a support for me during the Camino; we had become very good friends and I knew that we would meet again someday soon. She said her goodbyes to everyone and I walked out to the front door with her. We hugged and then she walked up the hill towards the bus station.

large_20220919_075015.jpglarge_20220919_075023.jpglarge_IMG-20220919-WA0017.jpg

The rest of us (Marnie, Katja, Marius, and me) decided to have breakfast together before Katja and Marius left on their walk to Finisterre, on the coast. Marius needed to store his luggage at the post office, so he and Katja went to get that taken care of, while Marnie and I scouted around for a place to have breakfast. We found a small place that served coffee and various pastries that looked good, so we grabbed a table and waited for Katja and Marius to join us.

The breakfast options turned out to be far more limited than we had expected, with most of the items not being available to order... because Spain. I ordered coffee, along with churros and dipping chocolate. These churros were good and fresh, with the chocolate dipping sauce being sweet as well. The four of us chatted a while over breakfast, preparing Marius for the horrible food that he would encounter over the next several days. He seemed upbeat about it all, but we all knew what was truly coming.

large_IMG-20220919-WA0000.jpg

We all returned to the apartment so Katja and Marius could collect their rucksacks and head out. As with Lotta earlier, it was difficult saying goodbye to Katja. She had always been a beacon of sunshine and positivity throughout the Camino; so warm and cheerful. I will miss her laugh most of all. We made our goodbyes, hugged, and saw them off as they began the five-day walk to the coast.

Marnie and I hung out in the apartment until the 11:00 check-out time: I spent the time blogging, while Marnie relaxed and chatting with friends back home. It was nice to spend some time just relaxing. When it was time to leave, we walked the short distance over to my new hotel, where I dropped off my luggage since it was too early for checking in. We then went back to the Japanese restaurant for lunch and ordered the menu del dia. We got three courses, all of which were delicious (and possibly better than the pad thai I'd eaten two days ago!).

large_20220919_104453.jpg

After lunch, we split up and went to our hotels to check-in and spend some time chilling before dinner in the evening. My hotel room was one of the most charming of the entire Camino: the walls were old stone bricks and the furniture had been build around the stones. It was a small room, but very comfortable. I passed the afternoon by blogging and watching some of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.

large_20220920_142911.jpg

Marnie and I met up at 19:30 to find somewhere to eat dinner. We were soon joined by Karsten, Orla, and Dawn. We began a lengthy search through the old town area for a restaurant that looked good and which had an open table. We luckily found an open table at an Italian restaurant and ate there. I had a pizza, which was good, but the real treat of the dinner was the herb and garlic butter we had with the bread! The five of us spent the dinner reminiscing about our time on the Camino – and our shared dislike for Spain after many of the hardships we had endured.

When dinner was over, I had to say goodbye to Dawn and Orla. It was sad to say bye to Orla in particular because we'd spent more time chatting together over the previous month. She had gone through her own physical struggles on the Camino, so we had also bonded over our shared pains. I do hope to see her again one day when I revisit Ireland.

I went back to my hotel to chill a bit before bed. It was really hitting home that the Camino was coming to a proper close soon... and I was surprised at how sad that made me feel.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

This morning I awoke just after 07:00 and lazily got ready for the day. I met Karsten for coffee at a cafe next to my hotel. It was nice having some time to hangout together one-on-one before he left town today. We soon mat Marnie for breakfast at our favorite spot, Meraki. This was my third time going there for breakfast and the waiter once again remembered us. It was a very nice time having a final meal with Marnie and Karsten. They had both been so much fun to hang around with and were great companions along the Camino.

large_20220920_100434.jpglarge_IMG-20220920-WA0004.jpeglarge_IMG-20220919-WA0014.jpeg

Marnie and Karsten left to meet their taxi to the airport around 11:00; their flights were close to one another, so it was easy for them to just share a taxi. This was the final goodbye to my Camino family: everyone else was gone now. Marnie and I weren't too sad though because there's a very good chance that we'll be seeing each other in a month in either Istanbul or Budapest (or both!); knowing when I'll see someone again makes goodbyes all the easier.

large_IMG-20220920-WA0010.jpglarge_IMG-20220920-WA0011.jpeg

When I left them, I walked over to a small square near the cathedral so I could meet up with Robby and Jenny, who were due to arrive into Santiago this morning! We had been keeping in touch ever since we ran into one another in Carrion de los Condes, texting back and forth about the Camino, etc. We hadn't been able to spend a lot of time together before, but I had thoroughly enjoyed the times where we'd been able to hang out and chat. I was so excited to see them again!

large_IMG-20220920-WA0002.jpeg

I waited less than five minutes before I saw Robby and Jenny enter the small square, and we greeted one another with big hugs. It was nice to see more familiar faces after having to bid farewell to my Camino family, and I felt like they appreciated having someone in town to meet up with as they arrived. I walked with them to cathedral square to help celebrate their finishing the Camino! I took some photos of them in front of the cathedral as well, before walking them over to the pilgrim's office for their certificates.

The line for the certificates was rather long, so I popped back into Meraki for another coffee. The waiter, Daniel, and I spent the time chatting a lot. He's really friendly and had only recently moved to Spain from Italy, in order to live with his girlfriend. He is also an insanely talented artist: he had done all of the woodwork and carvings for the cafe, he can draw realistic portraits of people that are beyond amazing, and he even makes metal jewelry! We talked about my life in Vietnam as well and he seemed very interested in learning about what Vietnam is like.

large_20220920_120449.jpg

Robby and Jenny met me at Meraki after they had their certificates and we walked over to a different cafe, where Robby was able to get a proper pour-over coffee. He had been craving a proper coffee for a long time and had found several places in Santiago that served the coffee he wanted. While this was exactly what he'd hoped for, it was much better than the standard coffee we got daily on the Camino.

We then went over to an Asian street food restaurant for lunch – we were all done with Spanish food! We ordered several appetizers to share and I had chicken pad thai for the main course. All of the food was good, but the highlight of the lunch was just getting to hang out with Robby and Jenny. It felt like we were old friends reconnecting or something – though perhaps that just what the shared Camino experience does to people. I enjoyed getting to know them both more; we spent a couple hours there just chatting and laughing away.

We split up after lunch so they could get settled into their hotel. I spent a couple hours back at my hotel working on my blog (I was so far behind by this point, I really needed to catch up). I was also feeling rather sleepy, so having the little siesta in the afternoon was a good way to recover for the evening.

Robby messaged me later in the afternoon and we all met back up at the cathedral. We went inside to do some exploring of the place so they could admire the interior. There were far fewer people inside than two days ago when I had visited, so it made it more enjoyable. We did a lap around the entire interior and I was still amazed at how plain everything but the main altar is inside. The main altar has some creepy looking statues; I commented to Robby that the faces also look like Hindu god statues and he agreed. We also went into a small side chapel that was even weirder. There was a wooden carving of Jesus in a glass coffin, which was just bizarre. Even creepier was a doll that was part of some shrine in a corner; dolls should never be used in religious displays like this because they look so... evil and demonic with their soulless eyes.

large_20220920_171548.jpglarge_20220920_172450.jpglarge_20220920_174124.jpg

We also went down to view the shrine to St James and this time I got to spend time properly viewing the silver box where the alleged remains are kept. If I am not mistaken, the Catholic Church has not fully endorsed or stated that it believes these to be the remains of St James, so I find it interesting that the site is so venerated. I think it is all ridiculous and that there is zero chance of anything there being authentic, but, then again, it doesn't necessarily need to be authentic to give believers hope. As an atheist, it means nothing to me, but I can respect what it means to Catholics.

large_20220920_172050.jpglarge_20220920_172128.jpglarge_20220920_173612.jpglarge_20220920_172140.jpg

Leaving the cathedral, we did some walking around the old town some more. We stopped off at a bar to have some drinks; Jenny ordered a sangria that was very good and I wished that I had ordered one as well. We spent some time chilling as we enjoyed our drinks. I was having such a great time with Robby and Jenny; they are both very kind people and super funny as well. I could easily have sat there chatting with them all night long.

We only had one round of drinks before heading back out to explore the city some more. I had told them about the large park in the city that had the magnificent views of the cathedral and, since the bar we'd been at was right next to the park, we walked over to take a look. The park is full of gay pride flags, from the painted crosswalks to park benches to some bushes painted in the rainbow flag. It was really nice to see gay pride so prominent throughout the city.

large_20220920_191957.jpglarge_IMG-20220918-WA0005.jpg

The sun was starting to set by the time we reached the viewpoint in the park and it made the views of the city absolutely stunning. Santiago is, by far, the prettiest town that we visited on the Camino (with Pamplona being a close second). The cathedral dominates the skyline of Santiago from the park, with the various old buildings flanking it on either side. Robby and Jenny were both impressed with the view as well. I could have spent a long time at the park, reading under the shade and admiring the views.

All three of us were still full from the large lunch that we had, so we opted to skip dinner and just have a dessert. Jenny had a craving for churros, so I suggested we go to the place where I'd eaten them for breakfast yesterday. We each ordered the churros with chocolate, while Robby went with a Santiago cake. The rest of the evening was spent talking about our experiences along the Camino; it was interesting for me to hear what the people had been like who were a day or two behind my group as it sounds like they were vastly different and not nearly as sociable (or as young).

large_20220920_204431.jpg

We left the cafe after 21:00 and went back to our respective hotels. It had been such a great day spending time with Robby and Jenny. Before leaving the cafe, we had made plans to meet up tomorrow as well. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my last day in Santiago than hanging out with Robby and Jenny.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

My final full day in Santiago dawned earlier than I had wanted when I woke up at 07:00, unable to get back to sleep. I lazed around in bed for a while though. Robby texted me around 09:15 to let me know that the pilgrim's mass this morning was not very busy. They had opted to skip the noon mass yesterday and were going to the first one today. I had regretted leaving the mass early the other day because I missed the swinging of the large incense holder, so I quickly dressed and walked to the cathedral.

The mass was nowhere as busy as the noon one I had attended the day I arrived in Santiago. Then, we had been forced to standing-room only areas, but this morning there were oodles of benches open. I didn't see Robby or Jenny, so I took a seat to one side of the altar. The mass was very similar to the one from the other day with one major exception: the priest didn't list out where recent pilgrims had arrived from, which greatly shortened the entire mass. This mass lasted about 30 minutes, while the first one I attended was nearly an hour long. Mass ended with communion... and the incense was not swung! I had sat through the entire thing for nothing! I later learned that it only swings on special days or when pilgrimages pay to have it done, which must have been why the priest read out all of the pilgrim information the other day.

I didn't meet up with Robby and Jenny after mass because I knew they had some plans for the morning. Instead, I went to a cafe to have some coffee and a slice of Santiago cake. It was quite chilly this morning, so I ate quickly and then returned to my hotel.

Robby soon messaged me to make some lunch plans. He was getting a haircut first, but we would all meet up for Asian again for lunch (we'd wanted Indian, but the restaurant didn't open until 20:00 this evening... ah Spain, you strike again!). The restaurant was a 15-minute walk outside of the city center, which made for a pleasant walk away from the tourist and pilgrim packed streets.

We met at the restaurant at 13:30 and we all ordered the menu del dia, which came with egg rolls, rice, and a main (I ordered sweet and sour chicken). Robby's haircut looked really good and he looked quite handsome. The sides were buzzed very short, with a severe blend that I don't think he cared for much, but I thought it looked good on him. The food we had was all delicious and, best of all, not Spanish!

We spent the next couple of hours at the restaurant chatting away. We discussed their upcoming plans to move from London to Australia; Robby's hometown of Decatur, IL; various experiences from the Camino and some of the embarrassingly awful Americans that we'd encountered; and even movies/TV shows that we enjoy. It was incredibly fun to just sit there and talk with Robby and Jenny; I wish that we had been able to spend more time together during the previous weeks, but our walking schedules were too different for that to have happened. Still, I was grateful to have this time now to spend with them.

We left the restaurant at 16:00 and walked back to the old town area where our hotels were located. Jenny was rather tired and wanted to take a nap, so we split up with plans to meet back up in a few hours to grab a drink. I stopped by a supermarket en route to my hotel to get some drinks and snacks.

Robby messaged me at 17:15 with the idea of meeting up to have some Santiago cake from what is considered the best bakery in town. All three of us thoroughly enjoyed the cake and I thought it was a brilliant idea. I met up with them at the bakery at 17:30, but we discovered that they only sell the entire cake, not individual slices; an entire cake was far too large for us to eat in its entirety. Robby luckily found another bakery that had good Santiago cake. When we arrived, we found that they sold small individual-sized cakes, so we each bought one. We next stopped at yet another bakery that sold a doughnut-style pastry with chocolate sauce on top that Robby and Jenny had enjoyed earlier on the Camino; they had told me about it, but I hadn't tried one before, so we each bought one.

large_20220921_195712.jpg

We walked over to the large park nearby to sit and enjoy our sweet treats. The doughnut was simple, but very yummy (and sugary). The Santiago cake was good, but it was oddly baked in a pastry crust, which added an odd flavor and texture to the cake. Robby, Jenny and I are big fans of “The Great British Bake Off” and jokingly analyzed our treats as if we were judges on Bake Off. “No soggy bottoms!” “Deliciously moist, identical sizes and shapes.”

large_20220921_195737.jpg

As with yesterday, we were still too full from lunch (and now our sweets) to have a proper dinner, so we focused on finding a bar where we could have a drink. First, we walked back through the cathedral square to admire it one final time before we all left in the morning. Then we began wandering around the maze of streets in the old town in search of a bar. Robby led us to an area where they had visited a market earlier today, but it was sadly all closed up by the time we arrived. Each bar we passed as we walked back through town was packed with people, so we decided to go to one of the bars near my hotel. My hotel is near the large park and there are quite a few bars lining the street.

large_20220921_201203.jpg

We grabbed a table on a nice sidewalk terrace and ordered some drinks: Robby had a clara (beer with lemonade, which is basically a radler/shandy), while Jenny and I ordered sangria. The sangria was... well, it wasn't a true sangria, but more like red wine with a lot of lemonade; it was still good, just not what we had expected. With the drinks came three small plates of pinchos (snacks), which were free. What... amazing Spanish food was included on each plate? Tortillas! Oh Spain, you tricky bastard – you just had to ram this garbage down our throats one last time! The three of us ate the tortillas, which were much better than most we'd had on the Camino, but we only ate them because it felt rude not to do so.

large_20220921_213326.jpglarge_20220921_210609.jpg

Robby and I each had a second drink, switching to draft beer this time, and yes – yes – more tortilla came with those drinks as well. I tried to eat mine, but I... I just couldn't do it. Jenny then spotted that the bar advertised that they sell tortillas, which is probably why they served it as pinchos. Disgusting.

We stayed at the bar until 22:30, again just chatting the night away. I felt like the three of us really clicked together; conversation flowed so easily and effortlessly. I completely lost track of the time while we were together. I wished the night didn't have to end, even though I knew that was impossible.

After waiting for ages for the waiter to finally bring us the bill, we paid for our drinks and got ready to head back to our hotels. It was finally time to say our goodbyes. Robby gave me a big hug, followed by Jenny, and we hoped that we would meet up again sometime, somewhere in the world. I will be going to Australia to visit some Viet friends and to get more tattoos (now that my artists live there), so it isn't unthinkable that we'll meet again. I had so thoroughly enjoyed our time together and I was extremely sad to have to say goodbye.

And that brings my Camino to a close. I did get slightly emotional now that the final goodbyes had been said and my time in Spain was finally coming to a close. It had been an emotional roller-coaster. It was an incredible 33 days of walking, plus 4 days hanging out in Santiago, with some truly special and amazing people. This was an experience of a lifetime and I will forever be grateful to everyone I met along the way for making my Camino so wonderful.

Buen Camino!

large_istockphoto-1203056336-170667a.jpglarge_map.pnglarge_camino_franceCC81s-01-2.jpg

FINAL THOUGHTS

As I end this section about the Camino, I want to write some messages to a few of the friends that I made along the way. It is impossible for me to truly describe what you all mean to me, but I hope that this gives you some idea. Love to each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart!

Matthias

Aww, GOSH! How can I sum up what youmeant to both the group and me individually?! You were one of the first people I met on the Camino, sitting together at the group table for dinner in Roncevalles. You were so animated and friendly, I instantly took a liking to you. Over the next couple of weeks, we became very good friends. You have such a great sense of humor (yes, a German has a sense of humor – unthinkable!), always making me laugh each day, even when I used my incredibly, um, accurate(?) German accent. You have such a good heart and are one of the most genuine people I've ever met. You helped me to really think about some of the personal things we discussed during our walks together. I will forever keep the memory of hearing you laughing from down the Camino – your laugh is so boisterous and joyful. Even though you left the group half-way through the Camino in order to finish earlier, you left a lasting impact on us all. You were with us in spirit every single day, still bringing us joy. Matthias – thank you very, very much for everything!

large_Matthias.jpg

Marnie

My fellow blister sufferer! We really struggled together throughout the Camino with our awful blisters, but you were such a tropper, being so strong to push through the pain; you were an inspiration. I still find it crazy that we met in passing at the post office, only to truly connect days later! I am so glad that we met and that you joined our fledgling group. You have a big, warm heart! I thoroughly enjoyed our fast-paced morning walks together along the Camino (you were kind to tolerate the morning pre-coffee me each morning!). I cannot tell you how happy I was to see you in Sahagun after my 44km day, when I was in such awful pain. You were incredibly kind and supportive then; you helped me to survive and overcome the pain. I was overjoyed when you changed your plans so you could arrive in Santiago with the rest of us; it helped make the Camino feel more complete. I look forward to when we get to meet up again (hopefully soon)!

large_Marnie.jpg

Katja

Dearest Katja, where do I begin?! We also met at the dinner in Rocevalles, and then really connected the following day as we spent a couple of hours walking together. You were the sunshine and brightness for the group; always greeting everyone with the biggest smile and the best hugs (not to mention your 50 EUR kisses!). You have an infectious, joy-bringing laugh as well. I loved spending each and every moment together with you. The conversations were so insightful and deep; you helped me to see things about myself that I hadn't realized before. I admire your strength and resilience so much, even more so considering what you've dealt with over the years. You gave me some of the best memories from the Camino: from giving you an overview of gay sexual relations to laughing about my various male infatuations to just sitting and laughing with you after a long day of walking. As with Matthias, I will always remember the sound of your laughter carrying down the Camino – it always made me smile. You are a one of a kind person, Katja, and I treasure our friendship.

large_Katja.jpg

Liz

My fellow American and fast-paced morning walker! I absolutely love your sense of humor and it was so nice to joke around a lot during our long walks together. Thank you for letting me tag along with you on the dark, early morning walks. I learned so much from you during our conversations; you helped me really open my mind to different ideas and topics that I hadn't considered before. I wish that we'd had more time together during the second half of the Camino, but such is the way of the Camino. You have a big heart as well; I was so happy to run into you the few times we did see each other in the second half. You brightened each day that we spent together. ...and I will forever think of you whenever I eat something with garlic, which I think is amazing!

large_Liz.jpg

Lotta

Lotta, dear Lotta... you are one of the best people I've met along my trips. I don't know if I would have finished the Camino after I destroyed my feet on the 44km day, but your support gave me the strength to push through it. You were so incredibly kind to me as we walked, helping to distract me from the blister pain, and making me laugh. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of our conversations, both because of the wide-ranging topics we covered, and for how deeply insightful you are about everything. And let's not forget helping me with the Swedish lessons I got from Patrik. I feel like I'm... pretty fluent in Swedish now? Maybe?

Every day I looked forward to our afternoon Claras together when we would arrive in town... and your declaration that we should just stay there and get drunk! Your sense of humor is wickedly funny; it was nice to joke around about the aspects of the Camino that bothered us. Would you like a vegetarian salad... with tuna?

You are such an inspiration as well, especially since you returned to the Camino for a second time and restarted the journey in St Jean. You are the strongest of us all. Words cannot possibly describe the gratitude and admiration I have for you, Lotta; nor can I fully state how glad I am that we became friends. From the bottom of my heart, I can simply say “tack” (how was that Swedish?! Pretty impressive, eh?!). Until we meet again, my friend!

large_Lotta.jpg

Sean

Sean-y boy! My very first friend along the Camino – bro, there are no words to describe how happy I am that we became friends. From the day we first met, descending that awful hill into Roncevalles and our coffee once we arrived to our final coffee together in Lebacolla to the epic night out drinking in Santiago, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute we spent together. Our conversations were so deep, meaningful, and astute. You really helped me to do some self-reflection, providing such amazing support to me as well. My only regret is that we didn't get to spend more time walking together along the Camino, but this was compensated by the times when we would meet up in the various towns and just chat one-on-one.

Every from the very start, I felt that I could be totally open and honest with you; I could be my “true” self, which was so refreshing. Your goodhearted nature puts people at ease, which is a wonderful gift to have. This is why I so looked forward to our coffees together: we could openly discuss anything and everything without worrying about judgment. You have a great sense of humor and I will always remember your sincere, joyful laughter (even at some of my darkest jokes).

As you said, you were the “pup” of the group, but it never seemed that way. You brought such a great youthful energy and earnestness to the group. Saying goodbye to you hit me the hardest, but I know that we'll meet up again in Ireland sometime. Sean, thank you my friend. Thank you for all of your support, your jokes, and your friendship in general. You are a unique and wonderful person, and I will be forever grateful for becoming your friend.

large_Sean.jpg

large_IMG-20220824-WA0009.jpglarge_IMG-20220826-WA0005.jpg

Posted by Glichez 18:27 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 27) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »